SOUTH TAMPA — A quirky coffee shop with a drive-through on Kennedy Boulevard has been transformed into a bistro with a high-end menu.
The former Cafe Con Trey, which closed in May after 17 years as a neighborhood coffee spot, has become Bin 27 Bistro. First-time restaurateur Michael Wuliger purchased and renovated the building at 2702 W Kennedy before opening in late December.
The 100-seat bistro was redesigned by Wuliger's mother, Jan, a decorator, to be sleek yet comfortable. The menu, devised by Wuliger and chef Jason Cline, offers an eclectic lunch and dinner selection.
While it has been nerve-racking to open a restaurant during a recession, Wuliger said he persevered because "there are not enough places like this in Tampa."
"I think even in the weak economy, there is a demand for better dining," he said. "There needs to be more of these smaller restaurants that are not corporate-owned that can provide good service and good food."
Entrees are $9-$23 for lunch, $12-$28.50 for dinner, and include a crab cake burger ($16), Kobe sliders ($15), yellowfin tuna with mango-pepper salsa ($23) and pulled brisket with sofrito rice and sweet plantains ($14).
Wuliger said he favors a "fusion" approach because it "shows a chef's diversity and allows the patron to come one night and have an authentic Italian dish and come back a day later and have something completely different."
Hours at Bin 27 Bistro are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for lunch and 5 to 10 p.m. for dinner, Monday through Saturday.
New space for Trikkes
As the nation's top sellers of Trikke, the three-wheeled "carving" fitness scooters introduced in 2005, Andy and Jana Clark found themselves busting out of their too-small space on W Bay Vista Avenue near Britton Plaza.
Just about the time that gas prices were hitting an all-time high, the Clarks in July decided to move their Trikke Tampa store to 3311 W Gandy Blvd., add a full-service bike section and rename it Street Fit 360. By the time the transition was finished in November, they figured they would be ready to cater to a coming wave of two- and three-wheeled commuters.
Gas prices since have taken a dive, along with the overall economy, but Andy Clark is glad to have his new 2,500-square-foot space.
"To grow a business, you sometimes have to take those risks," said Clark, who has been known to make the 2-mile commute to work on an electric version of the Trikke.
While South Tampa's established bike shops cater to the more competitive set, Street Fit 360 has a diverse inventory, selling Trikkes, bikes for youth and adults, adult tricycles and other types of transportation for fun and fitness.
The Trikkes, which look like three-wheeled scooters, are geared toward adults in their 40s and up who are looking for a low-impact workout, Andy Clark said. Much of the Clarks' business still focuses on the Trikkes, but they recently added a store manager who is also a bike specialist.
Hours at Street Fit 360 are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday.
Young artists' venue
As the daughters of well-known violin maker William T. Walls, one of the founding members of what is now the Florida Orchestra, Susan Walls and Marianne Prinkey have spent their lives immersed in the arts.
Prinkey is a voice coach and Walls an artist manager. The sisters recently created PrinWall Entertainment at 4121 Henderson Blvd., an artist management and development company that offers voice, acting and music lessons and handles the careers of young actors and models.
PrinWall's 1,000-square-foot office and studio caters mostly to kids 6 to 16, Walls said. All lessons are private and cost $35 for a half-hour and $60 for an hour. The company also has created a performance group called PWE Girlz.
For more information, call (813) 374-2073.
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